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dir Roger Michell
scr Aline Brosh McKenna
prd JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk
with Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, John Pankow, Matt Malloy, Patti D'Arbanville, Ty Burrell, J Elaine Marcos, David Fonteno, Curtis Jackson
release US 12.Nov.10, UK 21.Jan.11
10/US Paramount 1h42
Taming the beasts: McAdams, Keaton and Ford
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A snappy script helps make this rather goofy comedy much more enjoyable than it should be. And it also helps that the film is extremely well-cast, and that it has some pointed things to say.
Becky (McAdams) is an ambitious young TV producer who has always dreamed of working for NBC's Today show. After being sacked from her job at a local New Jersey station, she finds work at low-rated network programme Daybreak. Sparky anchor Colleen (Keaton) gives Becky a run for her money in the energy stakes, and when Becky lands jaded veteran reporter Mike (Ford) as cohost, things start to get messy. Soon her boss (Goldblum) tells her that the show will be cancelled if ratings don't improve drastically. So Becky takes drastic action.
McAdams plays Becky with an almost scary efficiency tinged with both steely resolve and crippling self-doubt. She's so thrown herself into her career that she doesn't quite realise that a hot producer (Wilson) likes her. And she certainly doesn't have time to put up with Mike's crankiness. This is a character who walks the delicate line between annoying and inspiring, and it's refreshing that neither aspect triumphs.
Even so, screenwriter McKenna can't resist glopping on the sentiment in the final act. She also adds a lot of silly slapstick and dry wit, plus a light satire of the day-to-day chaos of live television that strains for but never nears the astuteness of Broadcast News. McAdams keeps Becky both prickly and likeable. Her scenes with Ford are the film's main focus, and they're played nicely by both actors. While Keaton and Malloy (as the weather man) dive into the wacky antics with hilarious glee.
Thankfully, director Michell never takes any of this seriously. The film's loose quality makes it stand out above the usual pushier style of Hollywood comedy. So if some montage sequences feel rather jumbled and some plot strands (such as the romance) never get off the ground, the film's character-based approach keeps us engaged. And with characters this flawed and likable, we root for them to sort things out in the end. And laugh along with them rather than at them.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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